Conserve Wildlife Blog

Who would win in a fight between an osprey and a bobcat?

February 8th, 2022

Dryophytes “Pine Barrens Treefrog” andersonii, State Threatened, #10 seed, hailing from the Atlantic white cedar swamps of the Pine Barrens vs. Scaphiopus “Eastern Spadefoot Toad” holbrookii, Species of Concern, #7 seed, straight from the Pygmy Pine Plains, also of the Pine Barrens. Who will reign supreme?!

If this query has you thinking, please read on…

Introducing Critter Chaos! The CWF team got together and selected 40 species that spend at least part of their lives in New Jersey to compete in a series of simulated battles to determine the most adapted (or luckiest) of the bunch. Call it a game of natural selection or simply of chance- contestants each represent one of four divisions; Shorebirds & Raptors, Mammals, Reptiles & Amphibians, and Grassland Birds & Invertebrates. We’ve given each contestant a rank within their division, based on their defense mechanisms, predatory techniques, camouflage, parenting style- anything that we felt would be relevant in fictional combat. The top competitor from each face-off will advance until we discover the worthy winner of the symbolic 2022 CWF Darwin Award.

If this is sounding a bit familiar, then yes- this competition is based on the NCAA basketball tournament “March Madness” and inspired by March Mammal Madness, a fun and educational alternative for those who are more (or equally) interested in springboks than sports. And if you’re most interested in spadefoots, then I’m pleased to tell you that the Eastern spadefoot toad is making an appearance as the #7 seed in our Reptiles & Amphibians division.

Here’s how to play:

We’ll release the bracket on CWF’s social media (Facebook and Instagram) on February 16th or you can download it here (it’s free!). The pairings for the first round have been predetermined, but you’ll have to decide who you think will win in a tussle. For example, the Eastern spadefoot toad (#7), mentioned above, will be going head-to-head with the Pine Barrens treefrog (#10) in the initial match. How you decide is entirely up to you; you can be scientific and do your research, go with our rankings, or simply put your all in the species that you like best- whatever you want. Do this for each round until you have chosen your champion. Once you have your bracket together, we’d love for you to share it with us! Everyone who does will have an equal chance to win swag including CWF hats, t-shirts, amphibian ornaments, and pocket guides for bird ID. We have 10 prizes ready to go!

Winners for each round will be determined by a random number generator, but weighted in favor of the better seeded contestant. There could definitely be upsets! You get 1 point for every battle you predict correctly in round 1 and point value increases as the tournament goes on. Follow along on social media- we’ll post each outcome and share interesting tidbits about the contestants throughout the month of March.

So, join in the chaos! We think it’ll be a really fun way for you (and your friends, family, coworkers, boss, local mail carrier, Uber driver, dog groomer- whoever you want to share it with) to celebrate the diversity of New Jersey wildlife.

>> Download Critter Chaos Information Packet via Google Drive

4 Responses to “Who would win in a fight between an osprey and a bobcat?”

  1. Jim Gambino says:

    I do not use social media. Is there a way to participate in Critter Chaos on your website?

  2. Ben Wurst says:

    Jim, I’ll talk to staff who are managing this and will see how you can still play without social media. I imagine you should be able to send in your votes via email after seeing our public posts on social media (without being signed up with an account. More to follow.

  3. Jenny Gaus-Myers says:

    When I click on the Facebook post, it just brings me to this article – not to the bracket….what are we supposed to do?

  4. Ben Wurst says:

    Hi Jenny, I am not up to speed on this, but just looked and saw a Google Drive link shared on an Instagram post. I added that link to this post (you can click here too). It has information about it, a link to a Google Form (where you officially sign up) and some PDFs that have the schedule and bracket information. I apologize for the confusion!

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